A member of Nanaimo Fire Rescue demonstrates the power of a brand-new fire suppression system onboard the Nanaimo Port Authority’s patrol boat

A member of Nanaimo Fire Rescue demonstrates the power of a brand-new fire suppression system onboard the Nanaimo Port Authority’s patrol boat

Nanaimo Port Authority shows off new firefighting equipment

NANAIMO – The port authority has outfitted two of its vessels with a highly advanced firefighting system.

The Nanaimo Port Authority has upgraded two of its patrol boats with a highly advanced fire-suppression system in an effort to ensure the city’s harbour remains safe.

The port authority’s two patrol boats, NPA Osprey and NPA Eagle, received the new fire protection system earlier this year. The new system is worth roughly $300,000 and includes fire pumps and firefighting equipment.

On Friday, the port authority, along with the Nanaimo Fire Rescue, showed off the system onboard the Osprey during a media event.

“This [the Osprey] is essentially a fire truck on water now … this is very simple and it has got a fire engine-sized pump on it, so it can produce a lot of water,” said Tim Doyle, Nanaimo Fire Rescue assistant fire chief, during the event.

Members of both the Nanaimo Fire Rescue and the port authority’s patrol division will be responsible for operating the vessels, which will eliminate a duplication of services and is unique for a coastal city in British Columbia.

“Most port cities will have port patrol boats and the fire department will have a fireboat and in those types of situations you’ll have firefighters operating marine equipment … or you have marine people operating firefighting equipment,” said Craig Richardson, Nanaimo Fire Rescue fire chief. “We are sharing the boats and the expertise of the organizations.”

Speaking to the News Bulletin afterward, Capt. Edward Dahlgren, harbour master for the port authority, said the cost of the new fire system was covered by the City of Nanaimo. The Osprey and the Eagle vessels are valued at more than $1 million each.

Dahlgren said the new equipment will allow firefighters to respond faster to fires on the water or near the harbour.

“It allows us to respond in a timely and effective manner to fires on the marine water interface,” he said. “It can be anything as simple as quickly hitting a beach fire that was left unattended. We can quickly lay down a carpet of foam and water before it takes hold.”

Richardson said the fire department is thrilled with the new equipment, adding that both the Osprey and Eagle will be able to respond to everything from oil spills and leaks to a major fire onboard a cargo or cruise ship.

“Being a marine city, the potential for fire events and other emergencies that occur on the waterfront or on the land-water interface is so huge,” he said. “To be able to have two fireboats … is a real benefit to the city.”

Richardson said by having both organizations trained and qualified to operate both vessels has already brought operational costs down.

“I’m really pleased with the way that the city has worked with the port authority to achieve this,” he said. “We’ve saved several thousands of dollars.”

reporter2@nanaimobulletin.com